Movie Review: Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore


The Secrets of Dumbledore are … common trivia that Potterheads have known for over ten years!

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore Review: 4 thumbs-up and 4 thumbs-down.
Snappy Movie Review | Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore Synopsis

Empowered by popular support of his anti-muggle philosophies, Gellert Grindelwald moves to politically dominate the Wizarding World. In response, Albus Dumbledore devises an elaborate scheme to thwart his former beloved, one that relies on the assistance of others as Dumbledore is prevented by his blood oath from directly acting. Success furthermore hinges on a fantastic beast that Newt rescues. This is a noble magical creature that’s described as capable of looking into any human soul, i.e., the only way to reveal Grindelwald’s dark desires.

Snappy Review

In the 2000s, particularly the latter half, new Harry Potter movies were greeted with much hype and fanfare in Singapore.

Malls with cinemas would put up roadshows. Major departmental stores would host merchandise fairs.

Leading bookstores would deck out their promotion shelves with Wizarding World displays and stacks after stacks of the books.

One wall was full of such Wizarding World magic when I visited Kinokuniya Orchard yesterday. But other than that, barely anywhere else in the entire Orchard Road stretch celebrated the release of The Secrets of Dumbledore. Heck, had I not checked last week, I wouldn’t have known the movie is out this week.

There are many reasons for this thin interest, of course. The country/world still coming to terms with COVID-19 and the Ukrainian war is one. The controversies involving the cast members, and JK Rowling herself, is another.

But if I have to put a finger on one reason, just one, I’ll say it’s because these prequel movies are in and out, unnecessary. They might not be commercial mistakes and they certainly boast of superior production values. But if the producers and Rowling think they can repeat the success/magic of the original films, well, that’s not going to happen. Because these prequels simply have no purpose.

No other way to put it. No purpose.

It’s something you can sense within 30 minutes of this third prequel, you see. While it’s less labyrinthine than The Crimes of Grindelwald, while Mads Nikkelsen’s sinister embodiment of Grindelwald finally does the character justice, the story struggles to be relevant. It takes over two hours to explain its purpose. In the end, the grand scheme against Grindelwald is no more than a smart, desperate maneuver born of coincidence.


And because there’s still that “promise” of five prequels hanging over everything, the story finishes on a flat note. With the unspoken statement of Grindelwald soon returning for more evil.

For hard-core Potterheads, I suppose the glimpses of Hogwarts and Hogsmeade, and Dumbledore’s otherworldly spellfights, would thrill. But as you can guess, these are all too few. Speaking of Dumbledore, can I highlight once more that the “secrets” the show sells itself on, are nothing to hold your breath for?  Beginning with how even non Harry Fans are aware of these over ten years ago?

Vice versa, the movie finishes without fully explaining the future headmaster’s grand plan beyond an opening statement the likes of, no one can know in full / know everything. How the blood oath was undone was also unexplained.

I’m sorry, I know I’m ranting. But it’s just sad to see the HP franchise spiraling into irrelevancy with these Fantastic Beast prequels. What’s more, with all the money and big names thrown in.

Hate to say it, I doubt a fourth or fifth prequel would help too.

Dumbledore’s Sexuality: Like a Poorly Cast Spell, it Backfired

This has been on my mind for a while, but I really do not wish to start a post about it, so I’d just leave my thoughts here.

It’s no secret that Rowling dramatically “darkened” the later Harry Potter books to appeal to older audiences. You just need to compare The Philosopher’s Stone and The Half-Blood Prince to know. Rowling’s most notorious move was also how she started killing off major characters from Book 4 onwards.

And at the height of her popularity, she performed her flourish. She more or less confirmed great Albus Dumbledore is gay. A move that, for a while, won her tremendous admiration from LGBTQ communities.

Now, as a pop fiction writer, I feel it’s Jo’s right to market her writing in whichever way she deems fit. That said, there’s always been this sense of insincerity, yes? Had she truly wanted to express LGBTQ support, why didn’t she describe any of the Hogwarts students as gay? Why wasn’t any Hogwarts professor gay? It’s always opposite-sex attraction when the Hogwarts teens are snogging.

And her notorious tweets of recent years. Personally, I think some of the initial criticisms were unjustified but what’s true is that Rowling’s responses heatedly demonstrated an incoherent vehemence. She keeps casting Confundus Charms on everything because she could not be the person she once promoted herself as.

In turn, this cast a pallor on her books, as Daniel Radcliffe lamented. Obviously, it also affected the Fantastic Beasts prequels. For a start, the whole Dumbledore-is-gay secret for this latest episode feels so hypocritical.

As someone who much enjoyed her books, years ago, I’m saddened. I wish Rowling had kept her opinions on the subject, truth or commercialised, to herself.

I also wish people worldwide stop expecting her to be some icon of gender equality, just because she made Dumbledore gay. And come on, lots of stories have villains who are transgender. To keep attacking Rowling for creating one is to invite her to cast more absurd vehemence on everything.

Watch the trailer here.

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